Divers re-enter cave as Thai rescue restarts

Thai rescue teams arrange a water pumping system at the entrance to the flooded cave complex

Thai rescue teams arrange a water pumping system at the entrance to the flooded cave complex

Each of the rescued boys had two divers with them at all times during the operation.

"Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are ideal [for evacuation] in terms of the water, the weather and the boys' health", rescue-operation chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said Saturday.

The rescue started at 10 am Thai time and involved 13 global divers and five Thai navy seals, who were described by Governor Narongsak as "an all-star team", reports the Daily Mail.

The boys were rescued using full face masks, Osotthanakorn said at a news conference where he described it as the "very smooth operation". There are reports the divers re-entered the cave around 1pm local time Monday. The next phase of the operation was expected to begin Monday, and "the mission will continue for the remaining boys as soon as possible", he added.

"I would like to inform the public at home and those who have been giving us support all along, after 16 days, today's the day we've been waiting for, we are seeing the Wild Boars in the flesh now".

The unsafe mission began on Sunday with rain threatening to raise water levels inside the cave where the team has been stranded for two weeks. However, rescuers say that the operation could take days because of the difficulty of the situation.

Four boys have now been freed from the caves, and following a brief rest period, divers are now heading back to free more of them.

They then pass the spot where a Thai navy SEAL diver died on Friday.

The hours that followed kicked off a chain of events that has riveted the world: a dramatic search and rescue that found the boys alive nine days later, huddled on a small, muddy patch surrounded by floodwaters.


He said the extraction effort would likely resume early Monday. Reuters news agency reported that six boys have been rescued, citing a senior member of the medical team involved in the rescue.

An Australian doctor, who is also part of the rescue mission, checked the health of the boys on Saturday night and gave the all clear for the mission to proceed.

Thais have been fixated on the crisis, hoping desperately for the safe return of the boys and their 25-year-old coach, since they have been trapped in the Tham Luang cave complex on 23 June because of rising waters.

An Australian doctor who is part of the global team of rescuers checked the health of the boys Saturday to decide who should be brought to the surface first.

Rescuers woke to gloomy skies and potential thunderstorms following a night of heavy monsoonal rains lashing the mountainous region.

Thai rescuers are being assisted by an worldwide team comprising experts from China, Australia, the USA and Britain. Late Sunday, it posted that a fourth boy is out of the cave.

The boys sounded calm and reassuring in handwritten notes to their families that were made public Saturday.

"I promise to take the very best care of the kids", he wrote.

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